Teachers suspend planned strike

Teachers protest in Bristol A series of regional strikes have taken place already this year

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Teachers in England are to suspend a planned national strike after ministers agreed to discuss the dispute.

Two of the biggest teaching unions, the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT, had planned to stage a one-day walkout before Christmas in a row over pay, pensions and conditions.

But they say a strike will be held by 13 February next year if the talks do not lead to progress.

It comes after a series of regional strikes by teachers this year.

In a statement, the unions announced Education Secretary Michael Gove had said he was "willing to discuss a basis for genuine talks".

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "The public demonstration of the anger and frustration of teachers and the commitment of members to the action have secured the prospect of talks with the secretary of state.

"We look forward to securing progress in these talks as quickly as possible."

Performance-related pay

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "The successful regional strikes already undertaken show the strength of teachers' anger and concerns about the changes being made to their profession.

"We are giving government the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions with us to resolve our ongoing dispute.

"We have always been available for such negotiations and would have preferred that this was a route the government had gone down sooner rather than later."

Teachers are objecting to proposals by Mr Gove to bring in performance-related pay, make changes to their pensions and other changes which they say will increase their workloads.

The first walkout was at the end of June in the north-west of England. Unions said 2,765 schools close or partially shut, across 22 authorities were affected.

A strike on 1 October saw 2,500 schools affected across 49 authorities in the east of England, the Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber. The most recent walkout on 17 October involved 3,5000 schools in London, Cumbria, the South East, North East and South West.

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